Five Things We've Learned About the Lakers in the First Round
The NBA Playoffs: Where subplots happen.
Let's be honest—subplots are the cheese on a burger, the A1 on a steak, the caramel flavor in the ice cream.
The Lakers are no strangers to subplots.
Of their last two Finals appearances, the first came during the climax of a public feud between superstars Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O Neal, while the latter pitted them against their lifelong arch-rivals, the Boston Celtics.
While the end result of the first round shouldn't have raised any eyebrows, there were quite a few shocking developments that took place in the series.
Let's take a look.
While some think number 24 may be the Lakers’ greatest strength, it may also be their greatest weakness.
In the five games this season (including Thursday) when Kobe Bryant has attempted exactly 24 shots, the Lakers are 2-3—and Kobe’s field goal percentage is a meager 38 percent, nearly a ten-point drop off from his regular-season average of 46.
Perhaps the man that some of us acknowledge as the greatest player in the game has a weakness after all.
Kobe should have kept No. 8. Sure you may be the GOAT, but you know what? If you’ve got a weakness then there’s no need to broadcast it to the world.
What if Superman replaced the symbolic S on his chest with a piece of kryptonite?
What if the Bible’s David had worn a playboy bunny logo in the battle against Goliath, showcasing his uncontrollable lust toward the other sex? (Can you imagine Goliath trying to tempt David with his own equally enormous sisters?)
Worse yet, what if the Phoenix Suns turned their logo into big black letters that spelled out "DEFENSE"?
In the five regular season games marking his return into the Lakers’ lineup, Bynum averaged 17 ppg and 5.5 boards. That momentum carried him all they way over to a dismal five and three average in the series against the Jazz.
But don't worry, there's a legitimate reason why he disappeared in the series.
You know how some players know they’re fighting a losing battle? Well, Bynum’s the opposite.
He knows the Lakers are going to win in June—and without the Celtics to exact revenge upon, Bynum sits in the master room of his million -dollar mansion staring sadly out of the window trying to find a reason to play.
Maybe if the Lakers’ actually play a team with a snowball’s chance in hell of beating them, then Bynum can be motivated again. Where are those damned Celtics when you need them?
Phil Jackson wants you to know that he understands today’s recession calls for the tightening of all our collective belts.
Instead of Five Guys, some of us go to McDonalds. Instead of White Zinfandel, some of us have been forced to resort to Budweiser 40s (oh, the sacrifice!).
The point is that Phil knows that now more than ever, you want to get your money’s worth when you pay to see a sporting event.
That’s why Phil waited until the Jazz had cut the Lakers’ 20 point lead in yesterday’s Game Five to less than half in order to call a timeout.
Sure, Phil usually shows reluctance in calling time, but given the opportunity of an advancement game, the only logical reason why Phil waited soooooooo long to call the timeout is because he cares about you, the fan.
He also apparently hates anti-climactic finishes.
Phil Jackson - where caring happens.
Does not Batman need a Robin? Did not Magic need Kareem?
Lamar Odom knows that Kobe Bryant is the true heir to Michael Jordan. And who is Jordan without Pippen?
Averaging nearly 18 ppg and 11 rpg in the post-season so far, Odom’s Pippen-esque numbers prove my case all the more.
Make no mistake about it, though—resurrecting the Bulls’ dynasty in Los Angeles isn’t the only reason Lamar Odom has decided to become near super-human in his efforts against Utah.
Lamar Odom HATES Pau Gasol.
Just think of the stereotypical high school, where you have three hot girls that run the entire place—and among them, you have one undisputed leader of the group.
Originally the group only consisted of two, and they were lifelong best friends. Now the addition to the duo threatens to unseat the leader’s second-in-command.
Sure, they play well on the court together—but when Gasol turns around you can almost hear the creepy “Psycho” theme music playing as Odom hatefully stares holes through Gasol’s back.
Don’t hit the showers alone, Pau...
The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
We all look forward to this time of the year.
The Lakers—err...I mean some team will be crowned Champion in June.
The weather’s starting to get nice, people are more friendly, and even crime declines. (Hey even criminals take vacation. No one wants to work in sweltering heat, right?)
The only backside to this great transition period is that it also happens to be allergy season.
Allergies cause some to be bothered by pollen, others are more vulnerable to dust and dirt, but the Lakers suffered through a particularly loathsome sickness—the dreaded offensive-rebound allergy.
This allergy caused the Lakers to lose the series offensive rebound battle by 13! (Remember, this was only a five-game series).
Although Phil may appreciate the Lakers’ lack of efficiency here, as deficits like that tend to make games closer, allowing him to give you the climatic finish that he so desperately wishes to provide you with, it still is a genuine area of concern.
It cannot be stated enough: Rebounding is the cornerstone of maintaining leads.
The Lakers will need to make adjustments as they prepare themselves for the second road bump in their title campaign.
(Sorry, I couldn’t come up with an amusing line to close out on.)